Collaborative Conservation

What Makes Tucson Deserving of the Title of the United States’ First Capital of Gastronomy

The Arizona city joins Unesco’s growing list of “Creative Cities”

 

 

 

By: Jennifer Nalewicki

Every day, tens of thousands of cars barrel down Interstate 10, a highway that hugs the western edge of Tucson, Arizona. Many of these drivers may not realize that they are driving past a region with one of the longest food heritages on the continent. Often considered the birthplace of Tucson itself, this swath of Sonoran Desert  nestled at the base of the ...

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UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Launches New Center for Regional Food Studies

From agricultural sciences to folklore, cutting-edge nutrition to ancient food systems, UA researchers have a long history of researching, documenting and promoting the borderland culinary heritage that makes Tucson a distinct food city. To coincide with Tucson’s designation as the newest UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Southwest Center have established the University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies. The new center will advance food justice, food security and food systems innovations ...

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Tucson Designated UNESCO World City of Gastronomy

Tucson becomes the first city in the United States to be recognized as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy.

By: Megan Kimble / EBA

We’ve known it—those of us who eat here have tasted it. We’ve felt it in the soil under our fingernails. We’ve seen it in the magenta stain of prickly pear. We’ve heard it in the hammer mill grinding sweet speckled mesquite; smelled it in the exhale of steam from a crowded pot of tamales.

Tucson has always ...

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Desert prophet of new food crops

For 40 years Richard Felger has promoted native plants to feed the Southwest

Richard Felger has always been a little ahead of his time. Even before he was a teenager in southern California, he cultivated rare cacti and orchids at home, and kept three alligators in his bathtub. Before he graduated from the University of Arizona, he shadowed some of the world’s greatest desert ecologists. On his first trip down to Alamos, Sonora, he realized what would drive his ...

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Seeking Food Justice with Forgotten Fruit

Gary Nabhan wants to create new opportunities for immigrant populations in Patagonia while reviving a taste for forgotten desert fruits, and he needs your help.

There are 68 days left to join the effort to save our desert’s forgotten fruits – and create new green jobs in Arizona’s borderland while we’re at it.

The Project

MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award recipient and Edible Baja Arizona senior contributing editor Gary Nabhan is leading the charge with Barnraiser fundraiser. His goal? ...

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Pollinator Plants of the Desert Southwest

Native Milkweeds

The Desert Southwest harbors at least 41 of the 76 milkweed (Asclepias spp.) species known to exist in the lower 48 states. The species richness of milkweeds in this region is influenced by the tremendous diversity and range of vegetation types, soils, topography, climate, and the exposure of unusual rock types that occur over more than a 9,000 foot elevation range. The nectar of milkweed flowers is attractive to dozens of insects including bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, ...

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Conservation You Can Taste: Saving Forgotten Fruits of the Borderlands

Three hundred years ago, Spanish missionaries introduced a suite of arid-adapted fruit and herb varieties to the Sonoran Desert region, many of which have barely survived to this day.

These desert-adapted, heirloom fruits enriched the diets and diversified the farms indigenous and immigrants alike, but fell out of availability and culinary fashion. Today, these forgotten fruits are once again needed because they are tolerant of heat, drought and even alkaline conditions.

 

Go to Barnraiser, and learn about Saving Forgotten Fruits of the ...

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Mezcal: Everything but the Worm

 

It’s nearly the Day of the Dead in Mexico, which gives us the perfect excuse to get familiar with the country’s national spirit: tequila. Or wait, should that be mezcal? And what’s the difference, anyway? In this episode of Gastropod, Cynthia and Nicky travel to Mexico to explore the history and science of distilled agave, and get tangled up in a complex story of controversies, clones, and culture.

The agave, a spiky succulent native to Mexico, has been at the center ...

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Migratory Monarchs and Native Bees as Spiritual Messengers of Climate Change

When Pope Francis recently released his encyclical on climate change, people of many faiths finally realized how climate change is ultimately an issue of social and environmental justice that bringing caring for creation and “the right to life” to all species, races, cultures and classes. But it should explicitly be added that climate-related “social justice” needs to be applied to “social insects” like some bees and butterflies, not just to “social hominids” like human beings? Indeed, the plight of monarchs, ...

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Q&A from the Conservation You Can Taste Tour

These are various questions that were given to Gary Paul Nabhan by hosts of his tour Conservation You Can Taste. In particular, these came from representatives from the University of Ohio, and the University of Minnesota.

QUESTION: You have worked as a plant explorer and now you are an orchard-keeper of over 150 varieties of wild and heirloom fruits. What prompted your interest in food biodiversity?

NABHAN: Our Lebanese grandfather was an immigrant who grew trees in the Old World ...

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Hydrological Restoration of Rangeland and Desert Watersheds

HYDROLOGICAL RESTORATION
Designed for avid environmentalists, watershed restoration technicians, permaculturists and planners.
This class is Bilingual (offered in English/Spanish)

OFFERED: October 13—16, 2015
LOCATION: UA Santa Cruz, Nogales (rm N351)
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Gary Nabhan
FEE: $75.00
TO REGISTER CALL: 520-626-5093

The hydrological restoration of our arid ecosystem is essential to create a secure future for food production and the environment. This course will focus on water harvesting as a vehicle to capture this priceless resource, while controlling erosion of valuable, ...

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The International Seed Library Forum

The first International Seed Library Forum will be held in Tucson, Arizona May 3-6, 2015, in an effort to further coalesce efforts by public libraries, non-profits, universities, and food banks to increase the quality and diversify the means of managing community seed resources with free or affordable access to low-income households.

Please register online at Eventbrite at your earliest convenience.

Sunday May 3 will include afternoon field trips and open houses, followed by a event ...

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Tucson a model for planning for drier future, author says

By: Elena Acoba, Special to the Arizona Daily Star

Internationally recognized food and farming activist Gary Paul Nabhan says Tucson gardeners do a good job recognizing the importance of harvesting rainwater to grow crops in the desert climate.

But on the heels of Tucson’s warmest year on record, Nabhan feels more can be done.

“There’s been a lot of emphasis on things like harvesting water, but not much on the other ways that deal with scarce water and cooling crops,” ...

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Tucson, Arizona – An International Culinary Destination

The City of Gastronomy title is a part a UNESCO network of “Creative Cities” working together toward a common mission for cultural diversity and sustainable urban development. Joining the Creative Cities Network as a City of Gastronomy will highlight Tucson’s cultural assets on a global platform. It will also promote Tucson’s diverse cultural products in national and international markets by drawing attention to our vibrant community’s:

 

• numerous restaurants and chefs featuring indigenous ingredients used in traditional cooking;
• ...
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Middle Eastern Roots of Spice Trade: The Origins of Culinary Imperialism and Globalization

This lecture will present the hypothesis that every economic and social stage in the development of globalization was first initiated and refined among Semitic traders of aromatics, including Arab, Sephardic Jewish, Phoenecian and Nabatean spice merchants working in trancontinental networks over the last 3500 years.

The term culinary imperialism is introduced to recognize their wide-ranging influences on ethnic cuisines in the Old World and, after 1492, in the New World. This narrative also sheds new light on the roots of cooperation ...

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Sustaining Water

Water rationing for farmers will threaten our region’s food security

This summer, regional water planners announced a game-changer for Arizona’s economy and already-fragile food security status. As early as 2017, we are likely to see the rationing of river irrigation water available for Arizona agriculture as a result of the pervasive drought that has plagued the Colorado River watershed for most of the last 15 years. Planners concede that Arizona’s farms irrigated from canals coming off the Colorado ...

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Honey, Don’t Forget the Pollinators

The pivotal role of Baja Arizona foodscapes in bee and butterfly recovery.

Go to the produce section in any Whole Foods, AJ’s, or Sprouts in the Tucson area, and at least 237 of the 453 fruits and vegetables found there were brought to you by a now-imperiled fleet of flying pollinators. While scientists and farmers in Baja Arizona were among the first in the country to sound the alarm about pollinator declines, they are also leading the way ...

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Desert wisdom and agriculture

By Kay Watt

A miller’s daughter spun gold thread from hay. Stone soup fed an entire town. A farmer grew tons of juicy melons in one of the harshest desert climates in the Americas. In each story, something is created from nothing. Of the three, only the story of the Chihuahuan melon farmer is neither fairy tale nor parable. Centuries-old technology known as olla irrigation breathes life into acres of melon vines, enabling them to thrive in an otherwise inhospitable ...

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31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Features Vaqueros From Baja, Mexico

The 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering will celebrate a little-known corner of Mexico — Baja California Sur — and its rich ranchero culture. From Jan. 26-31, 2015, the small high-desert town of Elko, Nev., will welcome Baja’s vaqueros, who will share with their American cowboy counterparts the traditional acoustic music, ranch cuisine, local art and craftwork, traditional lore and humor of their Californio roots.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has a long history of organizing cultural exchanges with people from around ...

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Cumin, Camels, and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey

History Today | September 2014, issue 64:9, pp 58-59, review by Gail Simmons

The closest we armchair travellers normally get to the olfactory sensation of walking through the globe’s most fragrant souks is opening the doors of our spice cupboards. The bottles may be sealed shut but the aroma of their contents —cardamom and cumin, cinnamon and saffron, turmeric and vanilla — wafts towards our nostrils and for a brief moment we are not in our kitchens ...

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